Road phones come at a cost with VicRoads footing $33,000 bill

VICROADS has spent more than $33,000 in four years on maintaining emergency roadside phones in western Victoria. 

Call for help: Thousands of dollars have been spent on emergency roadside phone repairs.

Call for help: Thousands of dollars have been spent on emergency roadside phone repairs.

Ten of the 36 help phones are dotted along the Western Highway at Ballarat, some of which have been vandalised, are faulty or used for possible prank calls. 

Roadside phones are located at inward and outward bound lanes at the Daylesford interchange, Heinz Lane, Midland Highway, Maryborough-Ballarat Road and Sunraysia Highway.

VicRoads spent $1.3 million over four years to maintain 837 roadside phones across the state between the 2009-10 financial year and May 2014. 

Statistics revealed 68 faults had been recorded at Ballarat roadside help phones between January 2010 and 2014. 

Phones located inward-bound on the Western Highway at Midland Highway and the Western Highway inward-bound at Heinz Lane recorded the highest number of faults in the four years, with 15 and 12 logged respectively.

VicRoads database logged seven entries of no answer, or possible prank calls, at the Western Highway-Heinz Lane phone, while there were 11 entries at the Western Highway-Midland Highway phone. 

Three incidents of vandalism, five technical faults and one contractor maintenance fault had been logged at the VicRoads Traffic Management Centre database between January 2010 and 2014. 

VicRoads western regional director Ewen Nevett said he believed Ballarat residents had respect for the roadside help phones. 

“We believe the community are generally respectful of our help phones,” Mr Nevett said. 

“We encourage community members to be involved in keeping community facilities such as roadside assets in good condition.” 

Western region help phones are located between Long Forest Road, near Bacchus Marsh, to where Western and Sunraysia highways connect, near Miners Rest.